Charlotte Air National Guard leaving on mission

About 100 Charlotte-based members of the N.C. Air National Guard will depart this week on a mission to support Operation Enduring Freedom at an undisclosed destination, authorities said Monday.

Two C-130 Hercules transport aircraft based at the 145th Airlift Wing at Charlotte Douglas International Airport will be used in the deployment.

Maj. Paul Kurts of the N.C. Air National Guard said he could not say where the transports would be stationed. Operation Enduring Freedom usually refers to U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, though a number of anti-terrorism activities in other parts of the world are included under the mission’s title.

Since 2007, members of the Charlotte-based unit have been deployed three times on rotations to Afghanistan, typically lasting about four months, where they have served in military airlift operations. Their most recent deployment was in 2012.

Another key mission of the 145th Airlift Wing is to help battle forest fires, usually during the summer months. Two C-130s at the Charlotte base are equipped to drop firefighting chemicals. Called MAFFS, for Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems, they are the only MAFFS aircraft stationed on the East Coast.

Both MAFFS aircraft will remain in Charlotte, Kurts said.

Overall, the base has a force of about 1,500.

Airmen going on the deployment will depart on Wednesday and Thursday, the Air Force said.